By TXMMA Staff // Felix Rodriguez, Emil Fischer, Mike Calimbas
Maynard: Legacy FC’s Main Man
HOUSTON, TX – A fight promotion owner is very often a complex, ambitious and powerful person. The mental acuity required to see opportunities as they arise, and capitalize on them is what separates successful owners from unsuccessful ones. TXMMA had an opportunity to sit down and discuss the various experiences involved in being the owner and chief promoter of Legacy FC, Mick Maynard.
The Texan Mixed Martial Arts (TXMMA) scene is strong, being home to some of the best talent in the country. Legacy FC has been a pivotal stop for most of the top fighters out of Texas and Maynard is essentially the gatekeeper and town crier in terms of recognizing those fighters who deserve the spotlight.
Mick Maynard – The Promoter and Business Owner
Promoting MMA via Legacy FC isn’t Mick Maynard’s only endeavor.
“I own a (full-service printing) company called InkBox Printing along with Legacy Promotions. I go to my office at Inkbox daily and they (the 2 companies) have a lot of synergy between them, believe it or not. I have gotten a ton of business through Legacy into Inkbox. The staff at InkBox and Legacy are amazing so really it all comes down to having great people around me.”
Very often people who are ambitious in one area in life are ambitious in all.
It is noteworthy to many that interact with Mick that he is down to earth, and that personality trait is considered very valuable in an industry that has a lot of potential pitfalls.
“I think I have gone through many changes over the years. I definitely think there is a time when you may have to be an asshole but overall I think the most important thing is to try to be fair and kind and that is generally the way to go. I have always been a book reader and try to improve myself from a leadership standpoint constantly. I didn’t even graduate high school so I knew I would have to do a lot of catching up education-wise. I have made my fair share of mistakes in life so judging folks too harshly has never been my thing either.”
Many promotion owners can learn from Mick’s example.
Mick has some high goals for Legacy, but at the same time he understand its ultimate place in a world where the UFC is the leader in MMA promotions.
“I would like to get more international TV deals lined up if possible to grow our brand even larger. We just signed a deal with Esporte Interativo in Brazil and now we’re looking at even more. We have an incredible relationship with our TV partner AXS and fights on the network are going very strong. I think that if the MMA media from a national standpoint would get behind promotions like ours it would make for a healthier sport overall. People get caught up in who is number 3, 4, 5 etc. etc. but truth be told there are very, very few promotions that actually make any money. It is a tough business and I think if media would support the healthier companies it would be far healthier overall for the entire sport. As it stands the media gets behind unproven businesses hook, line and sinker and anoint them the next big thing only to have them go through embarrassing gaffes and bankruptcy a short time later. It is largely a game of smoke and mirrors and we don’t play that way. We have been around for years, treat people well and put on a consistently awesome successful show. If we got the same coverage as some of these events that are just one pissed off investor away from folding, it would be not only huge for us but it would be huge for the sport overall. Everyone wants an alternative to the UFC but they support promotions that have virtually no chance of succeeding. It can be both frustrating and humorous all at the same time. I used to care about that stuff more than I do now. This has been my observation, when newer promotions jump up and down and claim their rising greatness and also lay claim to the infamous number 3 spot they are usually losing their ass and bankruptcy isn’t far behind. Once again, not trying to be too critical, I have been there and I understand.”
Given his understanding of the UFC’s power, Maynard shared some more of his perspectives on Legacy’s advantages, disadvantages and ultimate place in MMA.
“Honestly, I am not sure anyone can stop them at this stage, they are just so far ahead of the rest. We have had so many fighters from Legacy not only go on to the UFC but then win the performance bonuses. Can you imagine if I prevented them from doing that? I would really be a wanka. Those bonuses can be life changing if spent wisely. We also have a very good working relationship with the UFC and watching our fighters go there and succeed is extremely rewarding. Patricky Freire was correct in my opinion when he said that if Bellator did performance bonuses it would seriously alter the landscape of MMA. In addition if you look at the payouts of Bellator compared to the UFC across the board it isn’t even close. It is healthy to have competition and the new regime at Bellator are my friends so I hope they continue to grow and can get it to the Strikeforce level but right now the divide between 1 and 2 is massive. We are probably closer to Bellator than Bellator is to the UFC. Obviously they have the Viacom backing which us huge but unless they open up those pocket books consistently is doesn’t mean anything. Put it this way, if we had the same backing we would be looked at as possibly the number 2 organization, literally overnight. There is nothing anyone can do that can get you to the UFC level overnight. Look at our roster and all who has gone on to the UFC, if we had Viacom money and had kept them plus add a couple of big name free agents, I believe we would be at StrikeForce level right now. I could talk and debate on this subject for hours. On the kickboxing side of things LK1 was a pretty badass show.”
Some readers may not know that Legacy FC and Mick Maynard have been involved in some kickboxing events “Kickboxing is my first love and I think it is the most exciting sport in the world. I can argue that all day also if you get me started. I love Muay Thai and I understand what I am looking at when I watch it but I don’t believe it is as exciting for the casual fan as kickboxing. I believe the time is now for kickboxing to blossom and that with the right moves and timing Legacy Kickboxing (LK) will be one of the top kickboxing organizations in the world this year. I could see us as a powerhouse alongside Glory, the UFC and Bellator. The difference so far is the willingness of kickboxing orgs to share their talent and I really hope that never changes. Glory has been awesome to work with and I see the opportunity to build stars that will not only fight in Glory, but fight in Glory and then return a month later to fight for LK. You will never see the UFC loan us one of their fighters but Glory has and in the kickboxing world Glory is the UFC right now. LK2 is May 29th at the Horseshoe Casino in Shreveport. LK3 is back on Houston and hopefully we will have a casino deal to talk about soon that will also play host some of our kickboxing events.”
Female MMA fighters are currently on the forefront of development in MMA, in fact when asked about the most special and exciting fighter he has signed, Mick came up with a great answer “I would say Holly Holm. I received a text message from an MMA manager once about a really exciting female Olympian that I should sign. She was 1-0 at the time and matching females a few years ago was even more difficult than it is now so I passed. That female was Ronda Rousey, so needless to say I have kept that text message as a reminder of my dumbassness. When news surfaced about Holly I saw it as an opportunity for redemption and worked very hard to sign her. I don’t think at the time many people in MMA world understood how special she is and could be, so it was very gratifying to see her rise as a star. She is also an amazingly nice person so overall it was pretty awesome.”
Mick Maynard: The Martial Artist
A big part of talking the talk in MMA is having walked the walk. Mick Maynard has an impressive martial arts resume. “I boxed a little but when I was a kid. I went to a Muay Thai gym once in Australia and when the dude kicked me I thought it was the most horrendous thing ever so it is ironic that is what I love the most now . When I got here I started kickboxing at Houston Kickboxing Gym with Mike Altman and fell in love with it. I have been kickboxing for around 17 years and I also do BJJ. I currently train at Elite MMA for my BJJ and received my brown belt from Eric Williams. I have been doing it for around 10 years. I am now at Elite MMA Kingwood under Jordan Rivas. I have been training (Muay Thai) for 17 years. Started under Mike Altman and then went to Kru Pong and currently train under Michael Corley and Bob Perez at Houston Muay Thai and 4oz.”
It is not sufficient to merely have trained, Mick Maynard has also competed (albeit in smaller events). “I have fought in San Shou and Muay Thai. Hopefully this year I can get a few more in and hopefully it will be under kickboxing rules but I will fight under any rule set that an opportunity presents itself in. I fought in a Muay Thai tournament last time in Iowa and lost a decision. It was heavy on clinch and while I am pretty comfortable there I wasn’t prepared for the style that seemed to be dominant. It was a good experience though and a fun journey but I would prefer to fight in a format that lends itself more to punching and kicking people. It was a very sloppy fight and I wasn’t proud of it but my opponent employed a smart game plan by making it that way in the last couple of rounds. I have thought about doing an MMA bout many times and a couple of years ago it looked as though I was going to do a pro bout in Louisiana but it never materialized. I really do prefer the standup portion of fighting so most likely I will do more kickboxing but you never know.”
When asked about his regrets, Mick seems to have very few. “I wish I had fought more often. I think I wasted some good potential. I think about it often but honestly I have always had a family to support so that has had to be a priority. Fighting competitively takes a lot of commitment and time and it pays very little and in my case as an ammy (it would pay) nothing. When I was younger the opportunity to fight was nowhere near as frequent as what it is now. Every time I fought it was either smoker type set up or I Had to pay for everything myself. Entrant fee, travel, hotel, etc etc.. I didn’t have walk out music, t-shirts or fancy venues and in Texas at the time there was very few opportunities as an amateur fighter. I would literally pay to get my ass kicked. These guys really don’t realize how good they have it now.” MMA is a much bigger sport than it was when Mick was younger.
Mick Maynard: The Family Man
Growing up in Australia, Maynard eventual settlement in Texas is a point of interest. “I was actually born here in the States but raised in Australia from very young and didn’t come here until I was 23. There are a lot of similarities between the two and I absolutely love the USA and Texas. When I first arrived here I was not a big fan but over time with the relationships I have built etc. I definitely consider this home, I like to say I carry both flags now. When I arrived I didn’t even have a social security number and really didn’t not have any real familiarity with the country at all. I considered Australia my only home and still do along with America.” Interestingly his initial plans were not to settle in the USA. “I moved here around 21 years ago. My goal was to come here, get my life on track, learn Spanish and travel in a VW Kombi van through Central and South America. A short time after I got here my daughter was born and I wanted to stay and raise her. She is now 20 and currently in college.”
Mick is very close with his wife, Andrea Maynard, and she helps him run Legacy FC. They manage the business side-by-side.
“We met working together at the Houston Press. She was the business manager and I worked in sales so basically she knew the guy she was getting involved with was broke at the time because she did payroll. We have been married for 12 years and together for 15. My wife and I have done this together from the very the beginning at Hurricane Harry’s (Lonestar Beatdown 1). We have gone through all of the failures and successes together and continue to do so now. She is an accounting major and an MBA so she got the brains and the looks. It works out well because she handles the spreadsheets and accounting, ticketing etc. (the numbers; the important stuff). I trust her completely so it works out nicely and she believes in me which is everything.” Having a trustworthy partner seems to be an important element to a lot of MMA promotions, as is seen with Mick and his wife as well as the Fertitta brothers.
Mick is not only married but also has several children all of whom also have a martial arts background. “We have 5 kids. My oldest is a black belt in TKD but quit the day she got it and generally dislikes martial arts. My other 4 are all doing BJJ at Elite MMA Kingwood. They do gymnastics, soccer and BJJ. BJJ is the only compulsory activity they have and they will be required to do so until they are old enough to tell me to piss off. The way I see it kids have been made to do things like piano their whole lives and quit when they are old enough to make their own decisions. For my kids it is BJJ except that even if they quit they will always be able to choke out a fool for the rest of their lives. As of right now they love it though. I think what makes me proudest at the moment is watching their competitiveness and individual personalities come out when they roll and train. My 11 and 9 year old are very tough and roll hard a lot of the times. My 7 year old wears a pink gi with matching pink high heels to the gym. She will choke you out and never lose the cutest grin you will ever see. My 5 year old son is uber competitive and is still at the stage where if he loses a matchup he will cry. I like that, I was the same but like anything you have to learn to deal with it and just let it motivate you. All my kids are amazing and all of them are competitive which is good. In addition to that it has helped them learn respect and to take instruction well. They have done BJJ for almost a year I think and only have a couple of stripes each on their white belt and I like that. It should be more journey focused in my opinion and in reality nothing in life comes easy so they might as well learn that now, I think that BJJ mirrors those principles very well.”
There’s a saying that the cobbler’s kids often have the worst shoes. Similarly, many sportsmen would not want their children doing their sport of choice. Mick Maynard shared some thoughts on his kids doing MMA “I would allow my kids to do MMA before football. I think football is far more dangerous overall. I can’t stand the idea of my kids getting punched in the face obviously but I really do see MMA as a safe sport especially if they can find a way to curb the crazy weight cutting that happens.”
The life of an MMA promoter can seem as enigmatic as it is glamorous. The Texas Mixed Martial Arts (TXMMA) scene is lucky to have a promoter like Mick Maynard leading the top organization in Texas.